Massimo Rizzante

Poet, writer, essayist, translator and Professor at the Università degli Studi di Trento, Italy

“Childhood, Youth and Other Eternities. Notes on The Swan

Has art no sex? In our times, this is a very interesting question. Is mathematics black or white? I’m not sure. But I know that if the art of the novel does not want to loose its mature look on life, it has to set itself a mission: to place and protect the existential borders between the different ages of mankind.  Why? Because today, all people aim for the same age, the Great Age of Youth. Today, Youth is becoming an aesthetic quality, a standard of critical judgment, and a serious business for publishers. This is why people are forgetting all about the other ages of life. What does it mean to be nine years old? What is love, friendship, sex, time, nature, and death for a little girl?  Could we ask all these questions without the protagonist of Bergsson’s novel “The Swan”? I’m not sure: to feel with someone is to feel his age.